Today was an emotional day for me. Even though I felt confident that Daphne’s surgery would go well tomorrow, I still struggled to subdue the heartache and stop the tears from flowing. When I picked up Daphne this morning, I felt different: anxious, protective, and completely helpless. I knew she needed her surgery, but the thought of being separated from her and watching her experience so much pain at such a young age broke my heart. For the first few hours of the day, I just sat in the rocking chair, crying and cradling my little one.
The Lord must have known today would be particularly difficult, because it seemed as if everywhere I turned there was someone to commiserate with, someone to ease my burden, someone to pray for me, or someone to open her arms and offer a much-appreciated hug.
First, there was V’s grandmother, who paused in my doorway to watch me rock my daughter while she imagined the day when her daughter-in-law would be able to hold her 1 lb. 9 oz. daughter. This woman spoke to me of miracles, telling me about her unexpected recovery from a brain tumor. Then she assured me that everything would be okay and promised to keep me in her prayers.
Next, I met the mother of a 9-lb. baby boy who was born at home. She expressed hope that she would be able to hold her son soon; then she asked me about Daphne’s condition. We spoke of our children and shared words of faith and encouragement.
A few hours later, I stopped by the Ronald McDonald House to let management know I would be sleeping at the hospital. As I spoke, my throat began to close, and tears filled my eyes. April, the assistant manager, asked me about Daphne (remembering her name from check in), offered words of encouragement, then asked if she could give me a hug.
On my way back to the hospital, I stopped to buy lunch. I must have looked awful, because the woman behind the counter asked me if everything was oaky. When I mentioned that my daughter would be having surgery tomorrow, she too offered me a hug, saying she has four children of her own and would pray for mine.
Earlier in the day, my mother contacted the mission home in Birmingham, Alabama, and requested that two missionaries visit me and give Daphne a blessing. The elders gave Daphne a beautiful blessing, saying that the surgery would go as planned and that the surgeon’s hands would be guided (among other things). This message filled me with peace and finally put a stop to the unpredictable flow of tears.
Later in the evening, as Daphne's day nurse Jan was preparing to leave, she reminded me to stop by any time if I needed support. Then she gave me another hug and left for the night.
Finally, as I entered the RNICU family room for a late dinner, I met up with another new mom, A, and her mother. These women shared their home-cooked dinner with me, and we swapped stories about our children. A’s son was born at 25 weeks and weighed just 1 lb. 7 oz. He has a heart condition similar to Daphne’s but won’t be operated on until he has grown a bit more. As these women left, A’s mother gave me a hug and promised to include me in her prayers.
Today I was filled with sorrow, but the Lord sent willing, open-hearted servants to wrap their arms around me and offer words of hope; through them, I could feel my Heavenly Father’s love and comfort. I was not alone today.